Ten years ago, Google Inc. went public in an offering that raised nearly $1.7 billion and valued the young Internet company at around $27 billion. The Mountain View, Calif., startup quickly put that money to work, transforming itself into much more than an online search company. By the end of 2004, it had acquired the companies that would form Google Maps and Google Earth. It was already pushing beyond the confines of the Internet, scanning physical books to make them searchable, too. And the company launched, which, among many other projects, would seek to develop ultra-efficient vehicles, confront global poverty and analyze data to predict real-world events like flu outbreaks. In 2006, Google picked up YouTube. In 2007, it announced Android. And in 2008, it introduced the Chrome browser.

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